Ed. Note: I’d love to make this a regular feature – so what’s the strangest/coolest thing you’ve found in your house? If you have a photo please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail.com thanks.

“These two photos are of a medallion I found in my basement in the 1300 block of Corcoran St N.W. I found it in the middle of the floor and my guess is it fell from the old fireplace from the first floor. Anyway, it seems to be an advertisement for two hotels in Atlanta, Ga that were built in the 1880s and razed in the 1920s. I’ve had it for about 10 years and have always wanted to find out more about this type of coin but was never sure where to turn. The old medicine bottle reminded me I had it.”

Any history buffs want to take a shot at finding more info about this one?



Another awesome photo from the folks at Slim’s Diner coming to Upshur and Georgia Ave, NW this summer. Ach so freaking cool – Slim’s Diner shares this super cool find:

“During demolition we found this old bottle from Petworth Pharmacy – a previous resident of our building.”

I love the phone number – TA 9-3855.

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

Although the snowstorm that just struck the east coast was not as bad as forecasters feared, it’s worth looking back at one of the most devastating storms from the past. The great blizzard of March 11, 1888 wasn’t even predicted at all in Washington. The weather forecast that day was just for wind and rain, with clear skies to follow. Sure enough, the day began with heavy rains, but by late afternoon it turned suddenly to heavy snow. About a foot of snow fell through the night, followed by fierce winds. It turned out to be a cataclysmic storm, walloping the entire northeastern U.S. and dumping two to three feet of snow in New York and New England. Though Washington was not the worst hit, the storm’s effects had a lasting impact on the city.

Snow possibly from blizzard of 1888 3c09361u
A street-side snow hut made after the massive snow storm of March 1888 (Source: Library of Congress).

“The storm that visited Washington yesterday was one of the most remarkable known for years, The Evening Star reported on Monday, “In fact, the capital seemed to have dropped into the very center of a cyclone that brought with it a blinding succession of rain, snow, wind, and cold…. [T]he city was sheeted in a mantle of white that grew thicker every minute. As the night fell the heavily-laden telegraph wires began to come down, and in many places the streets were blockaded so that street cars had to turn around and make partial trips. The police wires were out of order, and to add to the discomforts of the night the electric lights began to fail. By midnight the city was almost in darkness, save for a few feeble gas jets that had flickered through the storm.” (more…)

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

Washington Circle is the westernmost of the many public spaces laid out in L’Enfant’s plan for Washington City, and it was designed as a circle from the start. To the south in the early days was the low-lying area known as Foggy Bottom, a desolate, semi-industrial neighborhood. Little of the land to the north was developed. While many Washingtonians passed through the circle as they traveled along Pennsylvania Avenue between Georgetown and Washington, few stopped here. Known as the “Round Tops” for the high cupolas on a pair of houses located just to the northwest, the neighborhood around the circle had a reputation for being dangerous. It is usually mentioned in early newspapers in connection with petty crimes. The circle itself was simply a large open area in the middle of the street.

The statue of George Washington in Washington Circle (photo by the author).

Meanwhile, sculptor Clark Mills created a sensation with his tour-de-force statue of Andrew Jackson on a rearing steed, which was unveiled in Lafayette Square in 1853. Proud of this American-made monument, Congress responded by immediately commissioning Mills to create another statue to honor George Washington. Everyone expected the new memorial to be even more stunning than the Jackson statue. The princely sum of $50,000 was authorized to pay for it.

It’s unclear when or how the decision was made that the new Washington statue would be placed in the circle at Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street NW. Perhaps that decision led to the sprucing up of the circle in 1855, when a wooden fence was built around the central part of the circle, thus forming the city’s first traffic circle. But by all accounts the improvements were minimal; the circle remained a wasteland until the arrival of the Washington statue. (more…)

The Forgotten Space Below Dupont Circle from PBS Digital Studios on Vimeo.

From Unusual Spaces – PBS Digital Studios:

“Each day, thousands of residents, commuters and visitors traverse Washington DC’s Dupont Circle, one of the most historic and iconic neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Below its well-traveled streets, however, lies a secret unknown to many who pass above: 75,000 square feet of abandoned tunnels that have remained inaccessible for most of the last 50 years.

Built in the 1940s to alleviate traffic concerns in the growing metropolis above, the tunnels allowed for trolley cars to pass under Dupont Circle and pick up passengers at two below ground stations. Following the closure of the DC’s trolley system in the early 1960s, the tunnels were abruptly abandoned. Apart from a brief, unsuccessful venture in the mid-1990s to install a food court on the western side of the tracks, the space below Dupont has been largely forgotten by the world above. In the mid-2000s, a new organization called the Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground was formed to pursue a new use for the space as a cultural destination. After years of petitioning, the Arts Coalition signed a 5-year lease with the city in late 2014 that will provide an opportunity to test out possible future uses for the space.”

Ed. Note: Last month we spoke about the future plans for this space.

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

The Prohibition era in Washington saw the rise of speakeasys and glitzy nightclubs, like Le Paradis on Thomas Circle, which we profiled last March. But the end of Prohibition in March 1934 did not bring an end to the supper club era. On the contrary, supper clubs flourished across the country, and Washington had plenty of them. Silken-voiced singers and lush orchestras continued to offer people an escape from the hard economic realities of the Depression. Exotic décor heightened the sense that one was fleeing to another place and time, to somewhere simpler and more romantic. These were the golden years of the supper clubs, a unique era when dining and entertainment were more closely linked than ever before or since.

Mayfair Cafe
Postcard view of the interior of the Mayfair, circa 1935 (author’s collection).

Fourteenth Street downtown hosted some of the biggest supper clubs, including the Casino Royal and Lotus Restaurant, but there were many others, including popular night spots at most of the city’s major hotels. One club that opened in 1935, the year after Prohibition ended, was the Mayfair Restaurant, nicknamed the “Café of All Nations.” It was located in a new office building at 13th and F Streets NW, in the heart of Washington’s theatre district. Within a block or two were the National and Warner theaters as well as the Palace and Capitol movie theaters. The restaurant quickly became one of the city’s most popular after-theater spots. (more…)


From an email:

“On Tuesday 12/16, we shine the spotlight on Bloomingdale, past and present. The event takes place at Big Bear Cafe (1700 First Street NW), from 6.30-8.30pm.

Here’s the twist: Rather than tracing its evolution through percentages about rising rents and new businesses, we’ll focus on community voices. In addition to our amazing panelists (listed below), we’re inviting people to share their photos, posters, stories, little-known facts, etc — anything that addresses the evolution of Bloomingdale’s urban space and community.

We’re interested in the architecture, stories, traditions, and most of all, the multiple facets of lived experience that make up the neighborhood’s history. From childhood to churches, parks to parades, street art to community relations, we welcome an array of viewpoints about urban transformation. Photos (and stories) can be uploaded to the Council’s blog (http://hcwdc.blogspot.com/) or brought in that evening.

Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D, author of Go-Go Live Ph.D, author of Go-Go Live
Saaret Yoseph, multimedia storyteller; director/producer of The Red Line D.C. Project
Scott Roberts, community activist and blogger of Bloomingdale
Autumn Saxon-Ross, Program Director, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Stuart Davenport, owner and manager of Big Bear Café”


From the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy:

Algernon (Jay) Cooper, III

DECEMBER 8 at 6:00 PM


All I can say is that all of the emotions you are feeling need to be channeled into political power. Let that burning feeling in your gut be the fuel to power a movement. Otherwise when the smoke clears all we will have left are tears and ashes. – A.J. Cooper, December 2014

Funeral services for Algernon “Jay” Johnson Cooper, III will be held on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at Nativity Catholic Church, 6001 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011; beginning with family visitation at 10:00 AM and Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or cards, contributions be made in Jay’s honor to DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1112 11th Street NW, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20001.

Friends are invited to join the family for a repast in the Nativity Catholic Church Community Room immediately following the service.”